Dive: Big Dipper

-- Spoilsport, Thursday, January 2, 2003 --

Dive #6 - Big Dipper, Outer Great Barrier Reef (with Norm and Teri)

The Great Dipper is covered with life, and schools of various fish cluster around the top when the current is running. At times, small, colorful fish dotted my entire visual range. I particularly enjoyed watching the harems of red anthias, with a single, bright male with a long dorsal fin and yellow swath through its body. Pulsing (or "pulsating," as the Brits and Aussies say) xenia also seems to be common here. Norm's air usage is getting to be pretty good. He and Teri are quickly becoming experienced divers.

Particularly interesting was a lacey scorpionfish (or Rhino-something, as the Aussies have been calling it). It was bright yellow, and absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, he was hiding under a large coral, and it was quite difficult to take a proper photo of him. However, I still managed to snap a few that are worthwhile.

My hand brushed by a stinging hydroids that were extended upwards from a large area of fire coral. It really hurt! The third lionfish we saw was sitting on the fire coral, and I decided that it wasn't worth the risk to take any photos of it.

Dive #7 - Big Dipper, Outer Great Barrier Reef (with Leon)

Great dive! We went back to shoot the volitan lionfishes we spotted on the last dive. I swapped the 50mm macro for the 16-35 with a +4 diopter and was able to get some frame-filling shots of them.

Dive #9 - Big Dipper, Outer Great Barrier Reef (Night Dive, with Malcolm)

I have no idea how to shoot macro with only one strobe. The shadows are harsh, and all of my exposures are off (dark!). I supposed I'll learn over the next few days...

The dive was fun, though. We saw many, many crown of thorns starfish -- as many as six on the same coral, a bunch of little shrimp, a rare batfish, and two large volitan lionfishes. Malcolm was a lot of fun to dive with.

22:59 - I stayed up with Marie after her PNG slideshow and chatted with her about random things while she cut slides. I have a lot of respect for the crew of liveaboard vessels. People seem to think that they have it easy, but it takes a lot of work to run a trip like this so smoothly.

I'm alone now in the galley, but I think that it is time to go to bed.